Marvin's Window: County fairs are an opportunity to connect with disappearing, rural tradition

I looked out my new window between showers over the weekend at the pumpkin patch in the backyard.

I was keeping an eye on the big pumpkins my wife and I have been giving extra attention for some months.

She has threatened to take the bathroom scales to the garden to be sure she gets to enter the pumpkin of choice.

We are anxious to see if we have grown the largest pumpkin in Mohave County this year.

I would guess a lot of our friends are tired of hearing about our pumpkins.

If we win, some of them will run when they see us coming!

The county fair is a time to build new memories, reflect on past memories and renew friendships during the fair.

For the majority in the generations under 50 years of age, it is an opportunity to connect with a rural tradition that is disappearing all to rapidly across our country.

Urban dwellers can see that food does not grow in a supermarket.

A trip through the livestock barns will give anyone a chance to breathe in some of that "clean country air." Of course, it is an odor unfamiliar to many and one some may not want to remember.

I always enjoy watching the young people tending their animals, including everything from rabbits and chickens to horses and cows.

A few minutes at the livestock auction are worth the time.

Youngsters bring all kinds of market animals into the ring to sell to local business owners and individuals.

Some will shed a few tears as they lead that animal back to the pen knowing the animal will soon grace someone's dinner table.

The young man or lady will take home money for college and memories and lessons learned taking care of the animal.

Someone had to feed and water that rabbit, steer, lamb or hog each and every day.

Someone had to spend time training the animal so it could be brought into the unfamiliar auction ring safely.

A lot of responsibility was developed.

The fair buildings contain the results of the creative talents and work of many Mohave County residents of all ages.

Youngsters enter 4-H projects, school projects and hobby efforts.

Adults have paintings, quilts, and handicrafts, flower arrangements and more hobby efforts than I can name.

Gardening in this desert takes a special effort.

I have grown gardens from Oregon to Georgia and many points between.

Kingman and Mohave County present a special challenge.

Those 120-degree days along the Colorado River steam tomatoes in the garden.

Even the cactus had a challenge during the months of drought during the past year.

Flowers have the same challenge here.

It takes a while to figure out which plants do well in the desert.

I think everyone in Mohave County has a talent, a garden, a hobby, a pie or cake, a picture or handicraft that deserves to be shared at the Mohave County Fair.

It would be great if each of you would bring a sample.

I am a lifetime fairgoer.

I like small county fairs and I like the great farm state shows in the Midwest.

Fry bread in Arizona and sweet corn with butter running off my elbow at the Ohio State Fair excites me.

But, I also enjoy the exhibits by local business people and community organizations.

They take time to bring you some special experiences and information.

The carnival no longer gives me the same thrills it once did.

Too many years ago, I would spend 10 days living in a livestock stall at the Oregon State Fair.

We would clean the stalls, feed the pigs and head for the midway.

We would play in the funhouse and ride everything.

Something happened to my stomach since then.

Now I prefer taking the grandkids to ride the trains, floating ducks and the merry-go-round.

I buy tickets and watch.

But, the major attraction of the fair is time to visit with friends and neighbors.

People are what a fair is all about.

Come enjoy.

Stop by the garden display and see if my wife chose the largest pumpkin to enter.

As you wander through the exhibits, you will find some place to remark, "I can do better than that."

Make a note and bring an entry next year.

Maybe you can do better, but you have to enter to prove it!

Marvin Robertson is the city government reporter for the Miner.